A new logo for London

At a press conference this morning, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the launch of London & Partners, a new agency “to showcase London as the best city to visit, invest and study in”. With, of course, a new logo.

At a press conference this morning, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the launch of London & Partners, a new agency “to showcase London as the best city to visit, invest and study in”. With, of course, a new logo.

And no, this isn’t a joke. When we first heard about this from Michael Johnson (who has blogged about it here) our first thought was ‘oh yeah, look at the date’ but it seems to be real.

London & Partners (site here) “will pool the extensive knowledge and expertise from the previous agencies under one roof and deliver a single strategy for the promotion of London with one voice and mission”.

This project has been rumbling on since the back end of 2009 (see our story here). At one point it seemed to have been shelved but then the project was handed to Wally Olins’ Saffron which was due to unveil something last summer. We presume this is derived from their work but will confirm more details as we get them.

UPDATE: We have just spoken to Ian Stephens of Saffron. He has confirmed to us that the logo is based on work that Saffron did for the original London identity tender and handed over to the GLA last July. However, extraordinarily, the Saffron work did not include the graphic of the river which has since been added, and not by them. “It’s familiar,” Stephen says of the logo, but “it’s their logo, not ours.” Saffron delivered identity guidelines, tone of voice etc last July at which time the London and Partners body didn’t exist. “They have taken our own work and added a squiggle,” Stephens says. However, he has been told that the promotional campaigns that will feature the London and Partners identity will do so using the original design and not the new one, with added ‘squiggle’.

UPDATE #2: Here’s a short promotional film introducing the new logo. It most definitely has the squiggle in it:

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  • http://www.matdolphin.com/ Mat Dolphin

    I see a droopy ballbag. Shame.

  • http://www.holeinmypocket.com Alburt

    Aye right. Would be fun story if true, as London is definetly very short on “brand” logos.

    Anyone else think it would make a good logo for a sperm bank/ fertilization clinc?

  • http://www.stevekirby.co.uk Steve Kirby

    I’m not a logo designer, but I think that could have been better. I like the colour – you can’t really call it a palette.

  • http://www.eyelinecreative.com Gemma

    I like the overall execution. They have done a good job of keeping it simple and to the point, whilst remaining representative of London by using red and referencing the Thames. One of the first things that sprung to mind though when I looked at the ‘O’ is that it looks like someone lying down gasping for air? Or is this just me?!

  • Zoheb

    That’s what you get if you use 99 designs et al

  • http://notnixon.com Chris Nixon

    Mmmmm. Christmas pudding!

  • claudia

    looks like an old man’s penis the think on the “o”

  • scott

    I’m so hoping this ia an April fool

  • Suzy

    Ehhh… April Fools I think. Hang on a sec, what day was the London Olympics logo announced..?

  • http://www.bpando.org Richard Baird

    Clearly an april fools joke, the ‘o’ looks like a broken egg.

  • Rodrigo

    It looks a bit too embroyonic for my liking. Though I can see Mr. Tickle or Mr. Jelly for some reason… lol!

  • Jack Wild

    Hmmm… Lack’s soul. Looks like they’re turning London into an investment bank… The most sensible city in the world is what it looks like they’re trying to say. They should take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book.

  • http://yo-hello.com James Nelson

    well it could be a hell of a lot worse. londON for example. tackling a job like this will always be a minefield.

    lacking a bit of historical reference in the type mind. and what’s the trademark about? was mills™ involved?

    i agree they probably should have changed the geography of the thames so it didn’t look like a droopy ball-bag though. unfortunately shaped iconic river eh?

  • Naama

    Looks like those ads when they show you how the face wash has cleansed an oily pore.

  • Mike Marshall

    I think that single handedly the current government are undermining British design. Firstly they promote a US logo design ‘threpenny’ website and then they launch a ‘flagship product’ aimed at promoting our Capital City with a logo that one of my Junior Designers would not even dare to present to me in studio, never mind put before a client.

    I really do hope this is a joke.

  • Jamie Long

    Initially thought this was a joke, but having looked through the site, it looks as though it is real.

    Shocking logo, who is the one signing these things off!

  • claudia

    I’m curious how much it cost to create this amateurish logo..

  • angie

    that thing in the O looks like a cleansed pore

  • http://www.sarahbatesdesign.co.uk Sarah Bates

    im interested in the cost too, agree with the sperm bank comment

  • http://www.venturethree.com stuart

    I want to cry.

  • claudia

    If it was 20 quid, I think was too expensive :)))))

  • Ed

    This seemingly constant argument about branding London has given me a thought.

    Three of the most successful identity schemes for places I can think of were all produced externally from the places themselves: City of Melbourne (Sydney), Peru (Argentina), Nordkyn (Oslo)

    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/pieces_of_melbourne.php
    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/perus_new_brand.php
    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/where_the_cold_wind_blows.php

    Admittedly, the Think London JB thing is nice and sometimes it works out having places branded by the people who live there, but how about we try someone outside London? Might actually produce something good, as it’s not really working to keep it in the city at the moment is it?

  • DK

    You can not trademark a place name like London….

  • http://twitter.com/schdesign sara scharaf

    emm can do better… totally agree with the sperm bank too lol
    hopefully this is aprils fool

  • http://www.swisscheeseandbullets.com Daniel

    I keep staring at the egg, waiting for a baby velociraptor to pop out. And London and Partners would be a great name for a detective agency.

  • John Tuck

    This must be an April Fool, though it has a lot of Austerity about it

  • SIrMary

    Thank God they’ve trade marked it. It’s modern classic and is probably being ripped off by T-shirt makers in the Far East in time for the mad rush to proudly sport a wrinkled ball bag on their chest to show the love of London.

  • http://www.yourlandscape.co.uk Ryan Sales

    Ok, it looks terrible but there’s no point in Saffron being facetious in calling it a ‘squiggle’. It’s overly literal, but it’s London.

  • Edwin

    Worm or a Ballbag

  • http://www.yourlandscape.co.uk Ryan Sales

    Ok, it looks terrible but there’s no point in Saffron being facetious in calling it a ‘squiggle’. It’s overly literal, but it’s London.

  • Edwin

    Worm or a Ballbag

  • Paul Taylor

    I’ve been a creative director for the past thirty years and I can honestly say that logo design has never been as uninspiring as it is currently. The fault probably lies with the clients who, in a time of financial hardship, insist on playing it safe. But that is no excuse. It is the responsibility of an agency to push for a design that stands out from the crowd. Saffron’s logotype, with or without the squiggle, is dull. Its clunky, retro typography surely does nothing to establish London as a forward-thinking city. Depressing.

  • razor

    It wouldn’t matter what it looked like.

    For some, the fact that Boris, a Tory or Conservative (whichever way you see it), means instantly that it has to be crap. I think someone mentioned above how difficult a brief it would be to create a single identity for a city that has so many.

    For the record, I didn’t think Ken’s was any better or worse. This idea seems to be minimal and functional. Maybe CR should throw down a challenge to see what (serious) alternatives could be created.

  • Damon Charles

    Let’s remember – this isn’t a mark for London as such; just for an organisation that’s been put together to promote it. As such, even though this isn’t very good I’ve seen much much worse for work where the hand of politics lies heavy.

    Having said all that, I can’t help feeling it will end up being dubbed “The Varicose Vein”.

  • Paul Taylor

    I’ve been a creative director for the past thirty years and I can honestly say that logo design has never been as uninspiring as it is currently. The fault probably lies with the clients who, in a time of financial hardship, insist on playing it safe. But that is no excuse. It is the responsibility of an agency to push for a design that stands out from the crowd. Saffron’s logotype, with or without the squiggle, is dull. Its clunky, retro typography surely does nothing to establish London as a forward-thinking city. Depressing.

  • http://www.andyjohno.co.uk Andy Johno

    What a shame it has raised so many negative associations (not undeserved however), especially when the original job by Saffron was so well delivered.

    http://saffron-consultants.com/featured-work/archives/visit-london/

  • http://www.wtfcreative.com Dave Tuffney

    This is a massive slap in the face for the hundreds of decent design houses in London.

    The site looks like a test template from CS2 and the logo is simply too bad to deserve comment.

    Hang your heads those who produced this rubbish.

  • http://www.ads-studio.org.uk/ Adam Mason

    Ovary and Sperm or ‘Nose Over Wall’ drawing that kids used to graffiti with years ago. Frightening if this is a real job!

  • n

    @DK, nope, but you can of course trademark a logo.

    Also it’s ‘TM”, not ‘R’, so effectively meaningless in the UK.

  • n

    @Andy Johno

    Agreed, when you see it properly in the original context it’s a nice piece of branding.

    People get too hung up on how good logo’s are. It’s about the execution and how they’re used; not every logo needs to be in a top 10 list; it’s not art, it’s design.

  • http://www.131design.org Gail Baird

    If it is an April Fool then it’s not very funny – but definitely foolish.

  • http://twitter.com/keith1uk Keith McKenzie

    This is the most disappointing logo I ever seen for a major city in the UK & round the world. It needs more colours and some added creative spark to the brand!

  • Isaac Hunt

    Projectile vomit warning! The website is stacked to the gunwales with istockphotos. Another indication of a cheap joke.

  • http://www.holeinmypocket.com Alburt

    Whoops, I honestly thought it was an April fool. Apologies for saying it looked like a sperm bank/ fertility clinc.(Its really does though) Given how many logos/brands have been created around “London” over the last few years I kinda thought yet another logo was the joke.

    Still not convinced its not a joke, though midday is supposed to be the cut off for that sort of thing.

    An oldie but always a goodie in my book. “There was a message when you were out can you give Mr Lyon a call back on 0131 334 9171.”

  • http://comsal.com.br Robson

    look like japan cracked, not thames.

  • Rob

    If this is an april fools it is soooo boring.

    If this is a piece of branding promoting exciting business possibilities and travel opportunities to one of the worlds largest and most cosmopolitan cities it is soooo boring.

  • http://www.sefsar.com Youssef Sarhan

    hahahah wow! nice april fools!

  • stu

    what is the squiggly line for?

  • http://isabellamzafernandes.blogspot.com/ Bella

    I immediately saw a cracked egg.

    I’m going to make a design comment next week when I find out if this is or isn’t an April Fools joke.

  • http://rellis.co.uk Richard Ellis

    Design by committee, love it.!

  • BarryDiamond

    I guess the fact that googling this gets no other results gives the game away. However, not to be a stick in the mud, I will join in too. I don’t dislike it apart from the ‘river’ which looks far too naive against the confidence of the type. There.

  • Lee Davies

    Thing is before it was just a bit of german akzidenz grotesk. I’m not in any way saying this is good but if it’s for foreigners it tells you more about London than akzidenz grotesk ever will. As nice as it is.

    Bland before. Bland after.

    This illustrates pointless branding. These types of logos should, and deserve to, die. A true waste of money…

    Who’s complaining about the London 2012 logo now. Those who do should realise how hard it must be to showcase the greatest city (well one of) in a single mark/idea.

    And another lesson akin to GAP. Don’t just show people logos. They don’t like change particularly, as is seemingly the case here, change for change sake.

  • http://www.syndicut.com Jennie Wright

    @ Zoheb and @ Gemma completely agree.

    Not loving it.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com james

    Guys if you are going to do a story on a logo, don’t compress the reds and make the logo look like crap.

    That being said, it doesn’t look that special, but nobody seems to be helping it out.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com james

    Guys if you are going to do a story on a logo, don’t compress the reds and make the logo look like crap.

    That being said, it doesn’t look that special, but nobody seems to be helping it out.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com james

    Guys if you are going to do a story on a logo, don’t compress the reds and make the logo look like crap.

    That being said, it doesn’t look that special, but nobody seems to be helping it out.

  • Mark Hanlon

    I bet Cameron made him send it out to 99DESIGNS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WHAMMY

  • http://www.4muladesign.com Jamie Brightmore

    For a country who used to be world leaders in design, this is just another kick in the bollox.

    The logo is un-inventive and underwhelming, as is the website, which has terrible attention to detail and crap stock images throughout. Generally looks like it was crafted by someone who has lost their glasses.

    I hope this *is* a joke, but it seems genuine enough. #facepalm

  • http://www.rightangle.uk.com tony whitehead

    I can only assume this was an April fools joke… well done Boris you had me going for a little while :) http://www.rightangle.uk.com

  • http://isabellamzafernandes.blogspot.com/ Bella

    I immediately saw a cracked egg.

    I’m going to make a design comment next week when I find out if this is or isn’t an April Fools joke.

  • Simone

    All comes together to make a nice BrandWorld

  • http://badinicreateam.blogspot.com/ badini createam

    if it’s not an aprilfool it’s a drama!

  • http://www.antonio-lobo.com Antonio Lobo

    Very poor! Is it “The Serpent’s Egg”?

  • http://www.pickle-design.co.uk/ Pickle Design

    Is it me, or does the “o” look a little like Mr Bump?

  • http://www.131design.org Gail Baird

    If it is an April Fool then it’s not very funny – but definitely foolish.

  • Robert Lamb

    April fool or not. Why is the river Thames generally seen as the key representative icon of London.? Do New York use the river Hudson or Paris the Seine?

    The shape of the Thames may mean something to Londoners but I am sure the shape means absolutely nothing to people outside of the city let alone overseas. Its all a bit insular thinking to me.

  • http://bluepigcreative.co.uk bluepigcreative

    So what’s happened with Johnson Banks ‘Think London’ logo and branding – has this replaced it?

  • Robert Lamb

    April fool or not. Why is the river Thames generally seen as the key representative icon of London.? Do New York use the river Hudson or Paris the Seine?

    The shape of the Thames may mean something to Londoners but I am sure the shape means absolutely nothing to people outside of the city let alone overseas. Its all a bit insular thinking to me.

  • http://www.wemadethis.co.uk Alistair Hall
  • http://www.liamg.co.uk Liam Gallagher

    I agree with Bella, I’m going to make a design comment next week when I find out if this is or isn’t an April Fools joke.

  • Tom Dew

    Reminds me of the British Heart Foundation logo: http://www.bhf.org.uk/ …or an egg.

  • http://www.johnsonbanks.co.uk Michael Johnson, johnson banks

    OK, just to clear this up, it’s NOT an April Fool – http://bit.ly/f0kamN

  • Freddie Baveystock

    That film is bombastic nonsense. Sure we have a big multicultural city here, but the world it ain’t.

  • Steve McGinley

    This logo looks like something that would come out of Johnson Banks.

  • http://maxasylum.com Max

    This is weak. I mean seriously weak.

  • http://www.cookiecreative.net Graphic Design Manchester

    @Steve Kirby,
    Totally agree, yet another job seemingly unfinished.

  • Rob

    Well I think it is far better than the Johnson Banks “Think London” logo. What an ego maniac he is.

  • http://www.notelover.com Notelover*Designer

    – The ubiquitous river detail that does not work visually or conceptually (river is NOT a symbol of London outside of London, as is well pointed out in previous comment posted here)

    – The ‘& Partners’ and TM: who are these ‘Partners’? Ominous sounding…an elite handful of business people who have trademarked London as their own and ready-packaged it for sale for the global market…

    Poor graphic design and very bad branding – let’s face it… the perfect wind-up for graphic designers…

    the ‘Visit London’ original version by Saffron works just fine…which is probably the real logo displayed at the end of the film…

  • andy

    eastenders?

  • http://www.russellgillman.co.uk Web Designer London

    Must have taken weeks to develop this one.

  • M. Folha

    Looks like London does give a crack.

  • Maritza Nuñez de la Cruz

    From my opinion.. I think that could to be better…. I agree it looks like eastenders ops.!!!!
    Graphic designer.

  • Zef

    Looks like a tapeworm.

  • http://www.superfried.com superfried

    I think Ed makes a great point. – see below. We all know how difficult it it is to try and develop your own logo & business card etc or even take your own advice. So maybe an agency outside London or the UK would be better. The three case studies he mentions – see below – are awesome. This one isn’t.

    “Three of the most successful identity schemes for places I can think of were all produced externally from the places themselves: City of Melbourne (Sydney), Peru (Argentina), Nordkyn (Oslo)”

    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/pieces_of_melbourne.php
    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/perus_new_brand.php
    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/where_the_cold_wind_blows.php

  • http://Letter-Adesign.com A

    Oh dear.

  • NEWMAN

    Thank god there is bad design. Because it makes us appreciate the good stuff.

  • http://www.wmproductions.co.uk/design.html CORPORATE IDENTITY

    I think this is the very definition of ‘design by committee’ – no self respecting designer would produce such a poorly conceived identity.

  • Jav

    Haha. What a sad turn of events. They probably used a crowd-sourcing design site to do it which is why it is best to stay off those types of sites. Just saying. I had numerous experiences with logo design websites and I find that crowd-sourcing ones are the most dangerous as you do not know the authenticity of the logo. On that note however, I have to say there are alternatives. I have worked with online logo design sites such as Logobee.com, Logodesigncreation.com, etc. and they were great in delivering what they promise. Plus, the affordability (like logodesigncreation.com) is certainly a luring point.

    Going back to the logo, honestly, they should’ve went with a reputable design studio for the logo. There are tons in London and decide from there. The logo doesn’t scream out London to me. Worse still, if you are an outsider, the first thing that comes to mind is law firm.

  • superbadkitty

    I found this page in my hunt for logo design in London and I must say, it’s the usual story in life. You can’t please everyone. Most people can’t design a logo if their life depended on it, yet as soon as someone does and they see it, they automatically run it down and say they could’ve done better. I can’t, for the life of me, quite remember the last time I saw an egg which looked like that. It is CLEARLY the Thames. Must forgive those who are half-blind or who’ve never ever seen a map.

  • http://www.dan-jones.co.uk/ Freelance Web Designer

    Must have taken some time to create that! Great work!